So I went to the retirement party for the most senior firefighter on the Colorado Springs Fire Department a week or so ago and what a treat it was.
RC Smith Jr. after more than 30 plus years left the job or maybe I should say was unceremoniously kicked out the door of a job that he gave the better part of his life to.
I don’t know the story of his departure, but what I do know is the party I attended was a true celebration of a great firefighter in my opinion. It was attended by very real legends of the job, many of the characters from my book Dangers, Toils and Snares were there and what a joy to see those men.
We are all older now and some of us are breaking down a little but it was like going to a wax museum for the hall of fame for heroes. Men I had risked my life with, men who had taught me the art of firefighting and life saving.
It got me thinking about friendships. I have been blessed my whole life to have amazing friends. All of my very best friends stretch all the way back to grade school, one is from 4th grade, another from 6th grade, some from junior high and many more from high school.
These aren’t casual friendships, these are deep deep friendships that dare I say I love these men I know, they are like brothers to me and I would do anything for them and they would do anything for me.
Only one childhood friend still lives here in town, the rest are scattered not only all over America but some are even overseas. Yet we stay in close contact, we still share in each other’s lives and enjoy any chance to catch up with each other.
I heard from a friend today that is at his home in Hawaii, I called him a prick for telling where he was as it was 18 degrees at my house this morning. I love this man he and his wife are the Godparents to my children and I can call him a prick with complete immunity.
I have added a new friend to my collection and it is a collection. An amazing man, younger than me by two decades and yet years ahead of me in life and he has been teaching me some things about friendship. I have always tried to be the very best friend I can be to my friends. If there is anything I can do for a friend in any way I will do it.
But what I have learned is that it goes both ways. I have been a poor friend at the same time because I have not allowed or even asked my friends for help.
I know the sense of joy I get when I can be of service to my pals; I do it with pride and never look for any kind of pay back. But I am full of pride and so when difficulty comes my way I tend to keep it to myself, bow my neck and push through to the other side.
I struggle along silently never wanting to be a burden to someone else. This man has shown me that by allowing my friends to help me that they get to enjoy that sense of helping that I like so much.
I am a selfish friend in that sense. I will try to change that about myself and try to become a better friend. When I look around at the quality of my friendships, I am amazed. I am surrounded by a group of the most talented, loving, and beautiful people a man could ever hope to have and most go all the way back to childhood.
So the question I have had to look at is this. If I am surrounded by that high quality of friends is it possible that maybe I am high quality as well?
Now that may sound like a silly statement or even an egotistical one, but it is a question I have had to consider. I suffer on many levels from low self esteem; I don’t place any great value on myself for some unknown reason, I have always been baffled by the people that love me.
I know I can be funny and can be entertaining and I have always enjoyed that. But I have also felt that has been the major attractor, that is the reason I get invited to parties and special events like RC’s retirement party, because I’m funny.
This guy Corey has caused me to do some reflecting on my life and I will forever be in his debt. To all my amazing friends near and far thank you so much for being my friend and blessing my life with your presence. I will endeavor to increase my love of you all and will on occasion even ask for help. You have all been so patient and kind with me over the years through all my ups and downs, always by my side and always in my heart. I won’t dare try and make a list here of who you all are as that would make this post far too long, but you know who you are and you know I love you all.
Sorry to sound a bit weepy, I am not; I am full of joy and happiness and look forward to every day that lies ahead for I am truly blessed my God and by all of you. I’ll try to be funny next time.